“Edge 103.9” – October 2004 // Abe and Chino Interviewed

 

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“Review-Journal” – October 2004 // Abe Interviewed

www.deftonesworld.com

"Testing Their Metal"
By DOUG ELFMAN 
REVIEW-JOURNAL 

The Deftones are practically the root of contemporary metal, and the band isn't 
afraid to try new things. The Deftones' next metal album will be "brainy," "harsh" 
and "pretty," band members say.

Metal music is the new punk rock. Punk music itself has been co-opted by corporations. 
So has metal. But at least metal doesn't get played on adult-pop stations the way 
pop-punk does. 

If a parent walked into a kid's room and heard a pop-punk band, that parent might 
actually relate to the kid. But how many parents walk into a kid's room, hear a 
screaming Deftones song and are happy about it? 

"That's right," Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham says. "I think that's cool. It's 
almost (normal) to see a kid with different colored, six-foot spikes (in their 
hair). No one ever blinks an eye. But maybe we're more dangerous." 

New metal is inspired by what punk used to be, too. Cunningham and his bandmates 
grew up on classic anti-establishment punk. 

"We grew up on a lot of those bands and that ethic. For the longest time, we did 
it ourselves. I guess that all stopped when we signed on the dotted line, which 
has been really good, but it also is the worst decision we've ever done," he says. 

Cunningham dubs the current form of pop-punk "Hot Topic punk" after the mall store 
that sells black clothes and stickers. If listeners prefer that type of music, 
"more power to them, but at the same time, it's good to know the roots of things," 
he says. 

The Deftones have been around so long -- 16 years -- the band is almost the root 
of contemporary metal. The Sacramento, Calif., band was basically underground until 
its dotted-line, major-label debut, "Around the Fur," came out in 1997. At that 
time, the band's hard-pounding sound and singer Chino Moreno's hoarse, full-on 
screaming appealed to people who didn't just slam dance but bloodied each other in 
mosh pits. 

In 2000, though, the band's "White Pony" album was hailed as a sort of "Sgt. Pepper" 
of hard-core rock, because it tamed the high-pitched squeals and incorporated a 
complex structure of smart, sweet-sounding melodies, without losing its metal edge. 

Some "White Pony" songs were hard for kids to mosh to. The band's next album, 
2003's "Deftones," ratcheted up some rougher edges. Moshers seemed to eat that 
up in concert, but the album didn't appeal to the crossover fans that "White Pony" 
brought to the Deftones. 

Last month, Moreno told MTV that the band's next album will be more like "White Pony." 
But the band stands behind "Deftones." 

"The (new) songs are kind of brainy. They're more Rush than Tool in a way," 
Moreno said on MTV. "On our last record, we got kind of lazy by writing as few 
riffs as possible. This one we're writing way more riffs." 

Cunningham doesn't use the word "brainy." He says the new songs sound like the 
Deftones. No huge departures. 

"There's harsh (rock tunes), and there's pretty (songs). But it's all strong. 
We feel really good, and we're all stoked with it," he says, speaking at breakneck 
speed. He's a fast talker. "This is the most we prepared in the longest time," 
he says. "We have about 18 to 20 songs that are complete right now. We haven't 
had more than that since we made our first record." 

In the past, the Deftones have recorded in Sacramento and in a Malibu mansion. 
This time, after touring for about a month, they plan to head to a studio in 
Connecticut. 

"It'll be the dead of winter with no distractions. We might as well be in a 
studio, like little beavers building a dam," he says. 

The group will also be working with a new producer, Bob Ezrin, who produced 
Pink Floyd's "The Wall," among other major works. 

"We've never worked with a musician-(producer). And Bob is a classically trained 
pianist," Cunningham says. "He could have a million ideas, and if we don't like 
it, it's our" final say-so. 

Cunningham is looking forward to going into a studio so soon after playing a 
tour of small venues. 

"Coming directly off the road, we'll be on fire," he says. 

That will be a departure. The band normally falls into a usual rock band 
routine, he says. 

"You get caught in the standard cycle," he says. "Writing, recording, touring. 
Writing, recording, touring. Bam, bam, bam. ... But this time we have a plethora 
of songs. 

"And we've been through a lot. We've been together 16 years now, and the past 
10 we've been out in the world touring the globe and having records out," he 
says. "We've gone through a lot of stuff -- marriages, divorces, kids. But 
right now, it feels really good. Everyone's really getting along well."

“MTV” – September 2004 // Chino Interviewed

 

Chino Moreno interviewed by MTV (September 2004)

For much of the summer, the Deftones have been writing, erasing and rewriting 
songs in a Malibu, California, studio. Now the band is hitting the road, ready
to premiere the material on a monthlong U.S. club tour.

"We're just going to get used to playing as a live band again," frontman Chino Moreno 
said. "For me, the best part of being in a band is playing shows, all the raw energy. 
So we want to get some of these new songs worked out live. It'll be interesting."

The tour starts September 27 in San Francisco and finishes October 30 in Hartford, Connecticut. 
The band plans to head right from the road into producer Bob Ezrin's Connecticut studio.

"The tour is routed so it ends in Connecticut, and the we load our equipment into 
Bob's studio," Moreno said. "He produced [Pink Floyd's] The Wall, so he's known for 
building songs. And we've been FTPing songs back and forth all along, so we're slowly 
constructing a record. We're building an album as opposed to just making a bunch of 
songs and putting them on a record."

The band has written 18 songs for the new album, Moreno said, describing them as 
"more White Pony than our last one," 2003's Deftones.

"The songs are kind of brainy. They're more Rush than Tool in a way," he continued. 
"On our last record, we got kind of lazy by writing as few riffs as possible. This 
one we're writing way more riffs. We have formats where we have to write the songs 
down and go over them and over them again."

In addition to gearing up for a new Deftones album, Moreno just finished the 
mastering on his long-awaited, even-longer-delayed Team Sleep side project. Formed 
in 2001, Team Sleep recorded a demo that leaked online and was all but abandoned by 
Moreno. But earlier this year, he rounded up indie royalty like Helium's Mary Timony 
and Pinback's Rob Crow to record a whole new album.

"We turn it in on Friday and it'll be out November 2. It came out really good. It's 
all pretty mellow and very un-rock," Moreno said. "It's very moody. Very beat-driven. 
We have an avant-garde drummer and a programmer who uses only an old sampler. And 
then there are all these melancholy, romantic guitar lines through it all."

He's a lot less open with information about the new Deftones record, refusing to reveal 
track names or even a title. But he's hopeful that fans will have the album in their 
hands by early next year.

www.deftonesworld.com